Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Congratulations to all our Graduates!

Tis the Season for many fresh faced, nervous, full of knowledge graduates to leave the classroom and head out in to the brave new world.
This morning we asked our Ambassadors to share some advice for new graduates.
Follow Your Dream
There will never be a better time to pursue your dream than TODAY.
As the Chinese Proverb goes: The Best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.
Don't Worry
If you don't know what your dream is yet, or what you're truly passionate about--you're not alone. It will come to you. In the meantime--Never stop looking for that dream!
Be patient
It is the journey that is the wisdom, grasshopper, not the destination. It is easy to want it all and want it immediately. Take care not to get so wrapped up in the goal that you missed the journey.

Make good choices
Each day, we make an average of 32,000 choices. Make good ones. Together the little ones add up to big results.

Strive for balance
Balance isn't just the scales of justice, with things being exactly even. Balance is keeping your footing on a surfboard as you ride a wave towards shore. You have to shift your weight at times to stay on the board--that applies in life too. The goal is also the same. Don't wipe out!

Find a mentor
Throughout your life, you may have one or many mentors. People you look up to, who have knowledge, wisdom and advice that can help you achieve your goals. It's not unusal to have a collection of mentors whom you turn to for advice in different areas. You are not an island. It is good to learn from peers and role models.

Learn from your mistakes
We all make mistakes. Successful people learn from that experience and move beyond it.

Do what YOU want to do
And take responsibility for owning your own life's decisions. It is easier to let someone else make key decisions for you. (That way you can blame them if things don't turn out as planned.) Be strong--and do what YOU want to do. And OWN it if things aren't exactly as you expected. (see: Learn from your mistakes)

Be a lifelong learner. The diploma you earned is a license to learn. It demonstrates that you have the skill set necessary to continue learning, exploring and growing as a person, a partner, a parent and a citizen.

Oh, and sorry to break the news . . . .however . . .

The easiest part of your life just ended. You won't want to believe us now, but it's true.

Go forth with confidence and remember that one person can change the world in fact, it's the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Motivation--I am not a quitter! Are you?

I've been thinking a lot about motivation this past month.

1) Reward is motivating.

I prefer the "carrot approach" when it comes to motivation.

Knowing what the reward is, helps me align resources and push harder. I didn't really understand this until I started running. I'm not fast. But I will finish. Especially if I earn a medal for doing so. I am surprisingly gullible when it comes to medals.

2) Motivational mantras are . . . guess what? Motivating

One of the best advertising slogans ever is Nike's "Just Do It" It cuts to the chase and moves you to action. Stop the debate about 20 minutes more sleep vs the weather report and long term fitness goals. Just Do it!

3) Motivational mantras can override common sense.

This past weekend I participated in the Traverse City Bay Shore 1/2 Marathon. This was my first race without a pacing partner. The usual suspects hadn't signed up before the event sold out, so they were doing the 10K race, making signs of support and promising to be at the finish line. I was on my own.

It was a beautiful day to race. I watched the sun come up over the Bay and as the race started, I was feeling good. Real good. This was going to be THE race to set a personal best.

The 1/2 Marathon starts at the end of Mission point and runs back to the city. The full Marathon starts a 1/2 hour earlier at the city--comes out to the point and then runs back to the city.

At mile 2--I saw the elite runners zip by. This was the perfect seat to watch the marathon. I got to see every runner.

By mile 3 my leg started to hurt. I'd injured it 3 weeks earlier--shin splints, I figured. So I dropped back to a fast walk and as the pain eased, kept trying to kick it up to a run again.

At mile 4 the elite runners zipped by again . . . lapping me. My mile 4, their mile 17. As the clock ticked by, more marathoners lapped me. I kept pushing--instead of working my game plan.

By mile 10 I was in a lot of pain. My support team greeted me with a classic sign "The End is Near!" and I felt uplifted--tried to run a little for the camera and then dropped back to a walk.

Just as I reached mile 11, a marathon runner was coming up to my left to pass me. We both heard this loud crack/gunshot and paused--looking at each other--what was that? Then a huge rustle from the trees to our right and a dead tree slammed into the road in front of us--shattering.

Was this an omen? Should we stop?

A little freaked out--and the adrenaline kicking in--we both navigated around the log and stepped it up, trying to speed away from the wreckage. I admit, he was running a lot faster than I was.

By mile 12, with just 1 mile left, I'm thinking this has been a really really bad idea. My leg hurts so bad I'm having trouble walking. I try to remember the last time the race support bicyclists had zipped by. If I stop and sit on the curb, how long before they come to get me?

And that's when the Motivational Burma Shave signs started to get to me. "You can Do it!"
"This is what you trained for!" "Pain is Temporary--Quitting is forever!"

Quitting is FOREVER . . . I'm not a quitter. I'm NOT a quitter!

I pushed on.

And it hurt.

The race ended in the high school stadium and the crowd cheers you in as you run the last lap. There was no walking for this--you really need to run. Give it everything you have.

Pain is temporary.
Quitting is forever.

I finished. I got my medal. I sat down on the first clear piece of grass and waited for my support team to come find me.

After ice, rest and a trip to Ready Care--it was confirmed as a stress fracture. It's now 5 days after the race and I'll be on crutches another week and a half. No running for a minimum of 8 weeks--likely more like 12 weeks.

The pain has lessened tremendously. The crutches help. If I forget to use them, I remember REAL FAST!

I have a medal, though.

And I have to say . . . Pain is temporary . . . Quitting is forever.

I now know that I can finish a 1/2 Marathon even in pain. I'm not a quitter.

There are things I will do differently in my next race. Things that will prevent another injury--I hope. Things like--Work your PLAN, don't get caught up in the moment.

There WILL be a next race, though.

I am not a quitter!